Cavaliers will rely on teamwork

Published 10:13 pm Thursday, November 22, 2012

Lakeland varsity basketball players Michael Piersawl, left, and Jaquan Yulee, center, get ready for the upcoming season on Tuesday afternoon during preseason practice.

Clint Wright starts his first year as head coach of the Lakeland Cavaliers varsity boys’ basketball team intent on guiding a complete unit that benefits from the contributions of every player on the roster.

This year’s squad features six seniors, two juniors, three sophomores, and two freshmen.

“That’s a real nice mix, and then of course, the (junior varsity) team has some solid freshmen and sophomores on there,” Wright said. “That’s going to make the future very bright.”

Email newsletter signup

Lakeland went 5-19 last year, but Wright expressed great optimism regarding this year’s team and its potential success. Part of the reason is the players seem to be able to execute more than one style of play.

“We’ll be able to play a variety of styles from up-tempo to, when necessary, (slowing) it down to a nice pace,” he said. “I just feel real confident. I feel that when you can teach the game and you’ve got an athletic bunch that’s hungry to learn it, I think great things happen.”

Clint Wright, the new varsity boys’ basketball coach at Lakeland, works at building the foundation of a successful team with his players during the Cavaliers’ preseason practice on Tuesday afternoon.

Wright wouldn’t make predictions about the season, but he said the Cavaliers had fared well in a scrimmage game with Warwick High School in which Lakeland only had eight players.

“And we’ve added a few of the guys that were playing football to the team now, and it’s kind of bringing things into light,” he said.

Senior Michael Piersawl transitions to basketball fresh off of postseason play on the gridiron, along with freshman Jaquan Yulee.

Samson Worrell returns as a senior guard for his third year on the team, and Dexter Davis, another senior guard, will also return in his second year with the Cavs.

Wright said he’ll be relying on all the team members to set the tone for the season at various times.

“Actually, all 13 (players),” he said. “If it doesn’t happen every game, I know easily we’ll be playing 10 to 11 players per game.”

It’s a consummately team-oriented focus.

“We’re going to defend teams 84 feet,” he said. “We’re going to defend you the full court. It’s not like we’re going to basically sugar coat it and wait and sit back. We’re going to go make something happen.”

Wright expects similar intensity on the other side of the court.

“And then offensively, we want to score as fast as we can,” he said. “We want to push the basketball up, and we run drills where we don’t want the ball to touch the floor and we need to be scoring.”

Five or six players cannot be expected to maintain that kind of energy for a full game, Wright said.

“So theoretically all 13 players will be required and looked upon, and really the Lakeland basketball TEAM is the name that I really want to display as far as being the people I’m looking forward to step up at this time,” he said.

Wright knows that a healthy relationship with his new team and teammates with each other will be key to the Cavs’ success.

“I think the biggest challenge is establishing trust amongst each other,” he said. “It’s a new system, it’s a different scheme, and I think that once we’ve established a trust, then we can start building a solid foundation.”

Wright has served as head coach at Nansemond-Suffolk Academy and was an assistant at King’s Fork High School when the varsity boys’ team won the state championship.

“So I kind of got a general idea of what it takes, it’s just a matter of getting the players in place to make this thing happen,” he said.

Lakeland opens the season on the road against Hickory on Nov. 27.